8mm, 16mm, Super 8 Film

Preserving Memories

Preserving Memories: Care and Storage for Film

There are a variety of film types, but the most common consumer level film types are 8mm, Super 8mm, and 16 mm.

For this article’s purpose, we’ll only briefly touch on the differences. Essentially, both Super 8mm and 16mm are capable of recording and playing back sound. 8mm film only captures and displays images.

As mentioned in previous articles in this series, storage in a cool, dry and clean environment with minimal light exposure is key. One additional note on this, an overly dry environment can cause film to become brittle. Generally though storage within a home or office offers humidity levels that are fine for film.

Stored correctly in the right environment, film can keep for up to a 100 years. If you do have film in storage there is a way to check that it’s still in good shape. While it may sound odd, check each of your film canisters by smelling for a vinegar-like smell. If you detect a vinegar-like odor, this indicates a chemical reaction has begun and the film is in a stage of deteriorating. You’ll want to get this film transferred to digital as soon as possible. Unfortunately, once this deterioration process has begun, there is no way to stop it.

Once you have a digital copy of each of your film reels, copies can be stored on a CD, DVD, external hard drive or your computer. We always recommend making a backup copy of these digital files and storing them in a second location.